Presentation on theme: "The Law of the Sea and the MV Tampa incident"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Law of the Sea and the MV Tampa incident Location, Location, Location !Associate ProfessorDonald R. RothwellFaculty of Law,University of Sydney
2 Key IssuesConduct and Responsibility for the Maritime Search and Rescue operationAustralia’s closure of its Territorial Sea to the TampaTampa’s entry into the Christmas Island territorial sea in distressBoarding of the Tampa by SAS
3 Law of the Sea Development of the Law of the Sea 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)Australia, Indonesia and Norway all partiesRecognition of Maritime ZonesTerritorial SeaContiguous ZoneEEZHigh Seas
4 Search and Rescue Operation 1979 International Convention on Maritime Search and RescueCoordinates SAR operationsRole of the Coastal StateAustralian/Indonesian SAR ZoneSAR ship obligations: LOS Art 98To rescue persons in distressResponsibility for the RescueesFlag State/Coordinating State/Coastal State?
5 Closure of Australia’s Territorial Sea Right of a Coastal State to close its Territorial SeaLOS Convention: Art 25 (3)The Coastal State may, without discrimination in form or in fact among foreign ships, suspend temporarily in specified areas of its territorial sea the innocent passage of foreign ships if such suspension is essential for the protection of its security…
6 Closure of Australia’s Territorial Sea Australia’s port closure for TampaAny justifiable grounds?Vessel not engaging in innocent passageConformity with Article 25 (3)Specific closure for a single shipEssential for the protection of security?Tampa has engaged in humanitarian SAR operation
7 The Tampa in Distress Who determines a vessel is in distress? Can such a claim be legitimised?Rights of vessels in distressCustomary international lawLOS Convention: Art 18 (2)Was the Tampa in distress?Excessive passenger load following SARHealth and sanitary conditions
9 SAS Boarding of Tampa Was the Tampa engaging in Innocent Passage? The meaning of Innocent Passage: LOS Art 18, 19Passage which is not innocentArt 19 (2) (g): “the … unloading of any …person contrary to the … immigration law and regulations of the coastal State”Status of the Tampa in distress
10 SAS Boarding of Tampa Rights of protection of the coastal State LOS Convention: Art 25 “ The coastal State may take the necessary steps in its territorial sea to prevent passage which is not innocent”Legitimacy of the use of military forceWhich right prevails?
11 The Law of the Sea Balance Sheet Tampa conformed with its international obligationsAustralia’s basis for closing its territorial sea doubtfulAustralia’s failure to adequately respond to a ship in distressSAS Boarding of Tampa an excessive use of forceAustralia’s image as a good international citizen